Former Scratch Pastries Owners Starting Over with New French Cafe and Patisserie in Scottsdale

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Mogador chocolate mousse with almond genoise soaked in dark rum and homemade raspberry preserves.
Scratch Pastries owners Duc and Noelle Liao are looking forward to the New Year, especially in light of what happened in this one.

In June, following problems with investors concerning their second location (Scratch French Cafe, located in the former Canvas space on Roosevelt Row), the husband-and-wife team declared bankruptcy. The decision forced the Liaos to shutter not only their three-month-old Roosevelt Row store, but the original location of Scratch Pastries in Scottsdale, which opened in 2008.

"It's been a treacherous year," Noelle tells me. "The investors were harassing and threatening us. We had to move out of our home -- we even lived on food stamps for a while."

After months of struggles, the Liaos have decided to take the plunge into restaurant ownership again, but this time, Noelle says, with lessons learned.

See also: New Coffee and Beer House (with Food from Payton Curry) Coming to Old Town Scottsdale

The couple is returning to their former Scratch Pastries location at 7620 East Indian School Road in Scottsdale to open a new French cafe and patisserie called Merci, a name Noel says is the couple's way of saying thanks to all their supporters.

"The landlord welcomed us back," Noelle says. "And the mean guys [investors] only took the mixer and the display case, so the place is pretty much ready to go."

Describing it as essentially Scratch Pastries under a new name, Noelle says a few of the main differences with the new restaurant will be a more focused menu, an expanded patisserie, and more of a mom-and-pop feel.

"We're going to build out our pastry section and offer things you can't find in the city, as well as offer our best sellers and own creations," Noelle says. "The store will have a vintage look that's homey and cozy. And we'll have an armoire to display our cookies and homemade jams."

Noelle goes on to say that Merci will be open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Breakfasts will include croissants, lunch dishes will feature about 10 sandwiches, many open-faced on homemade bread, and the Saturday and Sunday brunch menu will be similar to the one previously offered at Scratch Pastries.

"For dinner, Duc is going to add more Asian fusion dishes using things like lemongrass and curries," says Noel. "And we'll have our specialty burgers, on homemade buns and using Angus beef. We'll serve gluten-free and vegetarian items, too."

Merci will not offer alcohol but will be BYOB-friendly. And, Noel says, with any luck, they'll be open before Christmas.

"We're grateful for another opportunity, and we've learned a lot. We kind of let the mom-and-pop-thing go when we opened our second location, but this time Duc and I will be doing almost everything," Noel says. "We'd love to move back into our old home [currently being rented] so our three girls can get their bedrooms back."

Merci French Cafe and Patisserie
7620 East Indian School Road, Scottsdale
www.facebook.com/mercifrenchcafe

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Location Info

Merci French Cafe and Pastisserie

7620 East Indian School Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant


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7 comments
surfflite
surfflite

So now it is time for Duc and Noelle Liao to pay the employees the money they screwed them out of when they abruptly closed Scratch. They talk about "the mean investors" yet both are equally as guilty of owing their ex employees a couple weeks pay. Closing the doors then contacting them via text message to tell them they no longer have jobs and owing them all paychecks is an extremely low blow. How hard would it be to contact all of them and settle your small debt? Bankruptcy or not, for less than you are probably paying for rent in Scottsdale, you both could redeem yourselves by paying them what you owe them. Until then, don't plan on myself or anyone I know visiting your new operation.

Guillaume
Guillaume

Great news to have you back!
Huge fan of your facebook page, everything looks so yummy!

Makoto Matsumoto
Makoto Matsumoto

That is great news. Congratulations Duc and Noelle! Welcome back.

chriscardinal
chriscardinal

So excited to see Duc & Noelle back in action. Losing Scratch was an iniquity that the Valley didn't deserve. It was also one of the Valley's most underrated dinner destinations, so I'm hoping it... rates a little higher this time around and sees some great success, along with my favorite pepper sauce ribeye and amazing potatoes!

PegnBob Briggs
PegnBob Briggs

Wishing Duc Liao all the best and every success.

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